Politics

JK speaks at TBG conference 2015

My work in contributing to public debate on culture and society is inevitably seen as political in nature. The schools of thought with which I am most frequently identified are radical traditionalism, traditionalist conservatism and paleolibertarianism. I am a passionate defender of Western civilization and of the Western Christian tradition, and notwithstanding a very wide international outlook both personally and professionally, a nationalist and lover of my native Britain and its people. I oppose globalisation and corporatocracy, and for many years have argued against British membership of the European Union. I maintain a strongly independent and critical stance concerning the current British political system, but remain committed to its evolution through democratic means.

Where I stand

What is politics for? What should the British political settlement be?
My principal belief is that politics is a means by which we can uphold the most significant freedoms that we can enjoy. These include the freedom of nations and of the various peoples that constitute them; the freedom of the individual, and the freedom of speech and conscience. These freedoms exist in a delicate balance that is maintained by society.

In the ideal model of British politics, public life emphasises the patriotic and national interest whilst leaving the greatest possible freedom for people in their private affairs. Our public life also rests on a residual basis of the Christian faith, which is a fundamental and indigenous part of the British character. This is maintained alongside an important tradition of religious freedom and tolerance in private life.

Race and culture
It is a right of all peoples of the world to preserve their autonomy, their freedom and their independence – and indeed their very existence. I believe that a people should be able to maintain its customs, values and way of life without external interference. These rights are threatened by mass immigration and by the imposition of Marxist ideology.

Once we distinguish race and culture, the way is open to acknowledge that not all cultures are equally admirable, and that not all cultures can exist comfortably side by side. To deny this is to forgo the very possibility of moral judgment, and therefore to deny the fundamental experience of community.
Sir Roger Scruton

I do not endorse any form of racial supremacy. As a Christian, I believe all mankind is equal in God’s sight. I believe that the pattern of God’s creation is visible in the diversity of the peoples of the world and that everyone should take pride in their ethnic and racial heritage. I stand firmly against hatred and suppression directed against any people on the basis of their race or ethnicity. I hold that it is entirely right for any people to defend and preserve their culture, character, faith or any other defining characteristic. While I love and defend my own people, I also strongly support the rights of others to do the same. I take an interest in Black nationalism, and have studied the lives and works of Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X and others, as well as the music they have inspired.

Pro-Life
There are none more vulnerable in our society than the unborn. I have for many years opposed the availability of abortion for any reason other than genuine medical need, and have received several awards for my activism in this area.

Commitment to peace and dissociation from war and violence
I am a long-term supporter of achieving change through exclusively peaceful means and believe that all necessary steps should be taken to avoid war and armed conflict. I oppose all forms of political violence. I also believe that Britain should not become involved in foreign conflicts such as those in the Middle East and in Ukraine but should instead maintain neutrality and restrict its efforts to offering humanitarian assistance where it is appropriate to do so.

Against Communism and Cultural Marxism
The fight against Communism in all its forms remains the principal ideological challenge for us today. Marxist-inspired ideas continue to be promoted through seemingly independent think-tanks, universities, international organizations and charities. The funding for these bodies should be closely examined in order to establish whether they are in fact fronts for left-wing billionaires. Most if not all of the ideas that emanate from the World Economic Forum, such as “The Great Reset”, are harmful and should be ignored.

Critical Race Theory is one of the most pervasive Cultural Marxist ideas in our society today. I first encountered it as a student at Cambridge in the 1990s and strongly opposed it then as I do now. It is a false, evil ideology that has been set up to attack and destabilize the West and White people. It should play no part in our society.

The national interest, economic policy, and international engagement
I believe that the national interest must be paramount in political decisions. Autarky is the best way to ensure that Britain is not controlled by foreign interests or caught up in conflicts that are not of her making. The revival of British industry that such a policy would involve would transform our society for the better. Once autarky is achieved, the greatest measure of freedom should characterize our economic policy. Britain should enter into international treaties and membership of international organizations only where these are clearly in the national interest and not when they are simply another means of placing Britain under undue foreign influence. Our close historic friendship with the United States should not mean that Britain is treated simply as a satellite of the USA, nor that it should become involved in the furtherance of American foreign or domestic policy.

Our island story
An examination of British history finds far more that is positive in the conduct of our national affairs than negative, and many achievements that should continue to be a source of national pride and inspiration. The Imperial and Colonial periods need to be understood in the context of their time. The British people should not be made to feel guilt because of the actions of their ancestors or because of their nationality or race. To paraphrase Cecil Rhodes, to be born British is to have won first prize in the lottery of life. Historical statues should be left alone as relics of the values of their time. 

The monarchy and aristocracy
The monarchy remains key to our national identity. It should be a defining and vital feature of our national life, and above any political consideration. In addition, the hereditary peerage should be fully restored, revived and given its rightful place at the heart of our nation’s governance. Life peerages, which tend to favour purely political interests, should be replaced with hereditary peerages in all ranks, and not only that of baron.

Preserving the Union and safeguarding the British Overseas Territories
The Union of the United Kingdom is of paramount importance and the past few years have shown clearly that there are areas where the present scheme of devolution is wanting. Above all, devolved administrations should not be permitted to diverge from policy that is determined in the national interest, nor to use their devolved status to compete with other countries of the United Kingdom for political gain. It should be emphasised that the British commitment to Northern Ireland remains of the highest importance and any interference with the integrity of Northern Ireland by foreign powers should be strongly resisted. Similarly, British territories overseas should be given the assurance that they will be fully protected and defended at all times.

The natural environment
Our natural environment is given to us in sacred trust and its care and preservation is essential. It is not necessary to accept the Leftist orthodoxy on climate change to regard green priorities as important. In farming, organic processes are to be regarded as preferable, and an avoidance of overly intensive and large-scale production should be encouraged. An end to mass immigration will mean less need to build new housing on former agricultural land. Rural voices should be given greater priority in our national life, which too frequently concentrates on a metropolitan viewpoint. Climate alarmism must be avoided. The challenges that face us can be addressed calmly and effectively without the need for drastic and damaging measures such as net zero

A humane approach to technology
Technological advances, while welcome, must be accommodated to a human-scale society in which technology serves mankind and not the other way round. Qualitative decision-making must remain in human hands and not be abdicated to unaccountable computer algorithms. Virtual reality and automated systems, while important in modernising industrial processes, should not replace human contact in person-facing roles or the direct provision of services. Organizations offering services via the internet, including social media providers, should offer customer service facilities provided by humans rather than faceless systems. Our society should also in its essential functions accommodate those who choose not to engage with technology for whatever reason.

The pound must stay in our pocket
Cash must be preserved as the principal form of money and not replaced with digital currency. Post-Brexit Britain should abandon the decimal system and return to the pre-1971 traditional British systems of money (pounds, shillings and pence), weights and measures.

Preserving our traditions and the British way of life
Britain embraces many traditions and institutions that should be cherished and supported. From personal choice, I do not participate in hunting or field sports, but recognize that these are part of the British way of life and that they should neither be banned nor restricted. I support amending the smoking ban in pubs and clubs to allow premises to maintain an indoor smoking room separate from the non-smoking area. I deplore the influence of globalisation, and would wish to see our independent businesses protected from unfair competition by multinational behemoths.

The fundamental importance of British democracy
There is much to criticise about the British political system. However, any change must be achieved through the expressed will of the British people if it is to have validity. For this reason, I remain committed to the electoral system and our present democracy. Foreign authoritarian political systems are entirely alien to the British way of life.

My political evolution

I grew up in a Traditional Conservative household where Enoch Powell and Margaret Thatcher were greatly admired, and from an early stage identified with the High Tory tradition. However, as I began to take an increasing interest in politics, I became aware that the Conservative Party was leaving behind its traditions of nationalism and the Right and becoming instead a party of big business, internationalism, and Leftist ideology.

I trace the most important aspects of my intellectual development regarding cultural and political awareness to my short but formative period of postgraduate research at Cambridge. It was at this time that I first encountered the ideology of the Cultural Marxist Left in depth, and in a hegemonic manner. In my strong reaction against these ideas, I was forced to think carefully about what I believed and why. I emerged from the experience as a committed traditional conservative critic of the post-1945 intellectual consensus and an open opponent of postmodernism and moral relativism.

These conclusions, combined with the narrow specialism, bureaucracy and political correctness prevalent in much of contemporary academia, compelled me to acknowledge my essential polymathy and reactionary, Romanticist outlook, and consequently to pursue a high degree of autonomy in my academic work and my professional life generally. I was particularly influenced by the cultural writings of Sir Roger Scruton, who has discussed his experiences as a dissident conservative academic within the British university system, and who has said that there is “no such career in England as that of an intellectual Conservative”. I determined that rather than becoming another unhappy dissident, I would seek an alternative: to support and create traditionalist institutions outside the system, and often internationally, that offered the prospect both of freedom and of disruptive innovation, and to work towards the creation of a counter-establishment.

Traditionalism is not a matter of simply recreating the past, but of perpetuating enduring values that are of historical and cultural significance. In some respects, my work, particularly in education, draws as much on past figures who are regarded as progressive (such as Rudolf Steiner, A.S. Neill and Melvin Maier Suhd) as it does upon conservative thinkers. Other aspects of my outlook align more readily with thinkers on the Left, such as within the Green movement and my emphasis on the interests of the working class, than with the contemporary or authoritarian Right. The bohemian and benevolent strain of High Toryism that was at its height in the pre-war years nevertheless remains a significant ideal.

JK TBG

As a radical traditionalist and ruralist, I believe in the small-scale organization of human society and in the dominant influence of landscape, indigenous cultures and natural hierarchies, inspired by Britain’s feudalist past rather than the ways of industry. Two key essays summarize elements of this ideology. In “Preserving the substance of a nation: the role of a traditional conservative counter-establishment” (from a speech given to the Traditional Britain Group Conference in 2013) I explore the need for traditionalists to build their own institutions that enshrine their culture and beliefs. In my 2014 essay “Can aristocracy and its feudal roots offer a prospect and model for secessionist solutions to the present crisis in Britain?” I advance a neo-feudalist view of the future.

I have often argued in favour of high culture and believe that the disappearance of high culture from our public discourse and everyday life is a tragedy with disturbing consequences. This is not to imply that I do not enjoy or take an interest in popular culture, but that I regard the difference between high and low culture as significant and do not wish to see the low vaunted at the expense of the high.

I also take an academic interest in British political thought of the Right during the 1930s, and in particular the work of the English Mistery and the English Array under the 9th Earl of Portsmouth and others. These traditional conservative movements emphasised monarchism and feudalism, and advocated ruralist ideas that prefigured several modern environmental concerns, some of which were further developed by the Kinship in Husbandry under Rolf Gardiner. I am also interested in the political ideas of Sir Oswald Mosley, the central themes of which remain of pressing relevance today. Of more recent thinkers on politics and related wider Traditionalist concerns, those who have had a particular influence on me include the late Sir Roger Scruton and John Michell.

I am a Vice-President of the Traditional Britain Group, and have given talks to the TBG on a number of occasions, most recently at its Annual Conference in 2021.

your britain fight for it now

For several years I was a council member and Director of Cultural Affairs of the former Libertarian Alliance, until its dissolution in June 2017. I was also briefly a council member of the Ludwig von Mises Centre UK at its inception in 2017.

I continue to identify with many aspects of paleolibertarianism and with the prevailing currents of the Libertarian Alliance as it had been latterly constituted. However, during the past decade or so the British libertarian movement as a whole has undergone radical change. A friend described these developments thus,

“Even libertarianism has been hi-jacked by those who seem to be able to reach an easy accommodation with the status quo. They certainly call themselves libertarians, though they do not conform to what I as a paleolibertarian understand by that term. I look at them and see men without principle, who will say what their paymasters tell them and pretend to others that this is honest coin. They look forward and pretend that they have lost nothing of what we once were, or that we are on the verge of a new Eden thanks to their influence. Their continued existence is ultimately a Potemkin village that hides some remarkably inconvenient truths; the most significant of which is that their voice will only be heard for as long as it continues to adopt a politically expedient tone. It is this ideological conformity that is characteristic of our new age; it involves a negation of the individual conscience in favour of a group conscience that blows with the winds of fashion and pragmatism.”